History of the Iai-Tate-Do

Iai-Tate-Do literally translates as the way of mental presence coming together in the battlefield.  It is the culmination of a number of traditional Koryu or traditional Japanese school of martial arts.  This culmination includes such Koryu as Omori-Ryu and Muso Eishin-Ryu, but is mainly based on the Kashima Shinto-Ryu and Suio-Ryu systems.

The Iai-Tate-Do Federation was founded by Kiyoshi Yamazaki Soke, a dedicated martial artist with a lifetime of experience in a number of martial arts.  He is an international chief instructor of Japan Karate Do Ryubu-Kai and also hold the rank of 7th Dan in Shindo Jinen Ryu Karate Do and Shito-Ryu Karate Do.

Kiyoshi Yamazaki Soke was born on August 16, 1940 in the Chiba Prefecture of Japan.  His father was a Kendo and Kenjutsu master and began teaching his son at a very young age, traditional Japanese sword techniques as part of his family’s Samurai history.  At the age of sixteen, Yamazaki Soke began and intensive study of Karate Do under the famous Karate Jutsu master Yasuhiro Konishi of the Shindo Jinen Ryu style (Ryobu Kai).

In 1962, at the age of 22, Yamazaki Soke received his first teaching license in Karate.  That same year he began an extensive study of Okinawan Kobudo under Shugoro Nakazato and Taira Shinken, as well as Iaijutsu training under Dr. Imoa Akagawa.

Akagawa Sensei was a good friend of Konishi Sensei, and a very accomplished Kenjutsu, Iaijutsu, and Judo master.  He took Yamazaki Soke in as a private student.  Yamazki Soke spent many years studying with Akagawa Sensei in various forms of Iaijutstu and Iaido including Kashima, Katori, and Omori Ryu.

Yamazaki Soke was particularly fond of the Kashima techniques as hand down from the lineage of the famous Samurai, Tsukahara Bokuden.  Akagawa Sensei like to refer to his styles of sword training as “Iai-Tate-Do”, describing it as a more combative version of Iaido as opposed to the more flowery versions he felt the Ryu in Japan had become.

In 1969, at the invitation of American Karate pioneer, Dan Ivan, Yamazaki Soke immigrated to the United States.  He had traveled the world, teaching and demonstrating Karate with Konishi Sensei.  When he came to the U.S. he teamed up with Fumio Demura Sensei, giving very famous demonstrations of Karate, Kobudo, and Iaido at the Japanese Village in Los Angeles.

Besides his great Karate prowess, Yamazaki Soke become known as one of the foremost Japanese sword experts in the world.  His great skill was sought after by Hollywood and he became a technical advisor and sword master for films including the “Conan” series, “Red Sonja”, “Dune”, and “Dragon Heart” to name a few.  His many celebrity students include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Richard Hatch, Wilt Chamberlain, Sting, Sandahl Bergman, Grace Jones, Dennis Quaid, and many others.